Trumbull – Dear Lad (1) – Danbury Fair Week – October 1, 1939

We are in to October, 1939, and Lad has been in Venezuela for nine months. He has been promoted to the “Trouble Shooter” and travels from one rustic camp in the hinterlands of northern Venezuela to another, to repair vehicles that other mechanics are unable to fix. This keeps him out of Caracas and makes it difficult to write home weekly, as he used to. Grandpa doesn’t like it one bit.

Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad)


October 1, 1939

Dear Lad:

It is getting kind of monotonous to have letters from me being the same each week, so I’ll fool you this time and say nothing about the empty mailbox. Whether my restraint will hold out next Sunday, if no news is received in the interim, marking the fourth week of silence, is too soon to forecast.

Daniel Beck Guion with his nephew, Raymond Zabel, Elizabeth’s firstborn

The only big news, relatively speaking, that has happened this week is that Dan has returned to college at Storrs. He had written to them about the possibility of re-enrollment but not having heard anything in reply, I telephoned Tuesday to  the registrar and learned that Dan could enroll, but that he ought to go up there at once and arrange for a room. So bright and early Wednesday Ced drove him up. He came home yesterday and reported that he is again on the debating team, is boarding with a retired professor of geology, and is a Junior. He’s taking the Packard up as Ced prefers the old Willys as being cheaper to run back and forth.

And speaking of cars, Carl is trying to sell his all Auburn. He has it outside the gas station was a big for-sale sign on it. He has officially changed his name to Wayne as you may have heard. Nellie (Nelson Sperling) is still working off and on as the spirit moves him at Steve’s (Steve Kascak’s garage, where Lad started working as a mechanic during summer vacations when he was 14, and continued for several years) garage. Art Mantle is somewhere on the high seas on one of Uncle Sam’s warships, but at just what location I have not heard lately. Chris Smith and family, I learned, have sold their house on Cottage Place and moved to California St. in Stratford. I understand they have taken a big enough house so that when Bill and Helen are married, which is scheduled to take place towards the end of this month, they can live there also. Irwin Laufer, as I may have told you, is on the Democratic ticket nominated as Constable from the Center. Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) is working for Judge Miller in Bridgeport.

This is Danbury Fair week once again, and it is the present intention of Dan and Ced and the gang to go up there next Saturday. If I go too, I shall naturally miss you. I was trying to figure out the other day whether it was more logical, you suppose, that we miss you here more than you miss home, and decided that the former was the case because at home here, I particularly am reminded by a thousand familiar things that have associations with what you did or said, whereas you are in entirely new surroundings with little to remind you of former scenes or people. Just as an example, the air was quite chilly the other morning when I got up and because I have a cold that is still hanging on, I thought it would be more comfortable to shave in a warm bathroom, so I upped and lights the old oil stove, and as I was turning it out I pictured you stalking in in your 6 feet 1 or whatever it is, and promptly moving the stove outside the door where it would not smell. Go on, say it, you are quite hurt that a stinky stove should have reminded me of you, to which my reply would be that the sweetest perfume is made from what a sick whale throws up, so you needn’t get all worked up about that remark. I was only trying to make conversation anyway, so there’s no sense in your flying off in a temper. There, that’s disposed of.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter and on Friday, an article published by the Bridgeport Times Star about the Republican Candidate for First Selectman of Trumbull …. Grandpa, up for re-election.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Letters From Each Son (4) – News From Dan And Dick – July, 1945

In Grandpa’s all-inclusive letter, we now come to one from Dan and another from Dick. Dick’s letter is rather short, but since he is rarely heard from, all the more noticeable. 

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

Letter from Dan dated Drancy, July 9th

I received the money order the day before yesterday. It came too late for direct action but I was able to borrow enough to buy a camera (German) at a bargain and sell it at an amazing profit. My conscience almost bothers me! I have sent home two money orders during the last two months and another is enclosed herein. I cannot send it all at once because of suspicious Army regulations that cry “black market” at the drop of a peddler’s cart. The Sears Roebuck catalog arrived and already has been eagerly perused by all my roommates and it has wrought  on me the mischief of avarice – – or to say it more in my favor – – acquisitiveness – – a condition that has been chronic with me ever since my delicate little hands first violated the pages of Sear’s 1922 catalog. I expect that the reactions in Calais will be even more violent, since these European natives have, during the past five or six years, lost any natural immunity they might have had to sales aggression. My moments of protoplasmic functioning, and even my less lucid (the word is “lucid”, not “lurid”, see?) moments are monopolized these days by the approaching wedding, at which I am billed for one of the two major roles. I shall leave Drancy on July 12th, planning (with the connivance of the Army) to spend a week in Calais. The wedding will be on the 17th. We are still in

page 5 ( continuation of Dan’s letter)

Category II and planning to return to U S A before setting out for China.  Personally, I should rather stay here for a while. “Chiche” won’t be able to travel to the U.S. for a matter of months at least, unless commercial travel is resumed, so I would do better to occupy Germany until Hirohito loses his shirt. As soon as I am safely married, I shall suggest a transfer to an occupational unit. Incidentally, being in Category II automatically bars me from attending the special university courses. I am not even eligible to apply. What a “sale guerre”! But with that almost pristine optimism that has always been my particular charm  (well, waddaya know!) I close this letter with the hope and faith that everything is going to be so oh-so-frightfully O.K.


Richard Peabody Guion

Letter from Dick dated July 24th

I just received your weekly news letter in which you devoted a page or so to each of us individually. Evidently, it has inspired me to unaccustomed effort. (Here he describes his office personnel as shown on a snapshot which accompanies the letter, and which would be meaningless to quote without the picture to go with it). He also encloses a print of himself, and writes: I am wearing a pair of pants that were issued to me in Miami more than two years ago. I am also wearing the same face that was issued to me in N.Y.  more than 24 years ago. That explains absolutely nothing and might even lead to your asking, or better still, passing a harsh remark at some later date, concerning the addition under my nose. That definitely was not issued but came to be very near and dear to me. That squint in my eyes is not a pose but a necessary or unavoidable reaction from the bright sun. I’m quite well, Dad. I don’t gain much weight but neither do I lose it. The job I have with its responsibilities has given me a sense of confidence in myself – – a feeling in me that was always a little slow in developing. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you are doing a good job  – – that people are depending on you. Give my love to Aunt Betty and say “hello” to all the rest.

Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa’s youngest son, Dave, in Okinawa,  full of news and personal opinion. On Saturday and Sunday, more of Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boys (1) – Dan Is Married – July 29, 1945

Daniel & Paulette's wedding - 1945

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Beck Guion

Trumbull, Conn., July 29, 1945

Dear Boys:

Well, there’s news this week, sure enough. Dan’s married. Yes sir, it happened on July 17th. Incidentally, we were celebrating Jean’s birthday at the time also. A V- mail from Lad, received yesterday, brought the glad news and also informed us that he was able to be present. That’s about all. He said he would write details later. Haven’t yet heard from the new bride and groom but the news was not a complete surprise because early this week I received a July letter from Dan, as follows:  “At last, the good news. The marriage will take place at Calais the 17th of July. It has been a long and difficult struggle, compromising between the demands of the Army (to get married as soon as possible), and the requests from Calais (to wait until August 4th). The final critical score is keeping me on edge, because my 76 points may prove to be too few. Since we have been placed in Category II (Pacific bound) you can readily imagine that I am more than mildly interested in the final score. With a wife in Calais, the hills of China would not prove exceptionally attractive.”

So, my hearties, we now have a new sister and daughter and of course the big thing to look forward to now is the gathering of the clan when we can all get acquainted. You might tell Paulette, Dan, that I have written and will enclose a few letters to her, kind of gradually creeping up on this acquaintance business, so she can get “eased” into the family without too great a shock. It will probably be shock enough to find out the sort of chap she is hitched up with, as soon as she gets the rice combed out of her hair. It was tremendous good news to learn that Lad had been able to be there for the wedding. He sort of represented the rest of us who would have liked to be there but couldn’t. I hope tomorrow’s mail will bring either a letter from you or Lad, giving us more details then he could compress in a short note. From what he says, he is practically on his way, but where to or when or from where is one of those things. I think I shall prepare and send out to relatives and friends a semi-formal notice of the event of Dan’s marriage and would like to have you send me Dan, as soon as convenient, a list of names and addresses of any friends you would like to have receive a copy.


Jean Guion

Now for a few random notes before we come to the quotes dept. These are busy and exciting days for Jean. In the first place, she was about due for a nervous breakdown last week when she learned that she had to have a passport, although instructions from the government failed to mention the fact, and that obtaining it might be a matter of months. However, by telephoning to various bureaus in Washington she got things started and hopes to have it before she leaves Miami. Another cause for worry was the fact that returning soldiers, both discharged and en route to the Pacific, has so taxed already inadequate railroad facilities, that the authorities have shut down on reservations for civilians, and in order to reach Miami on time, she will have to fly from N. Y. to Miami and has already, through Aunt Elsie, made reservations on a plane from LaGuardia Field Tuesday next, July 31st. Just as a nerve soother, the papers announced today that an army Mitchell bomber had crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building in a blinding fog, 913 feet above ground, setting fire to the building and killing 13 people, also sending two elevators crashing down 80 floors. Firemen earned their pay dragging hose up 80 flights of stairs to fight the fire.

I’ll spend the rest of the week with the rest of this letter. Dave did have quite a bit to say.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Boys – A Letter From Danny Boy – July 22, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., July 22, 1945.

Dear Boys:

A letter from Danny boy, dated June 26th, is the sole “Quote” I have for you this week, as follows:

These are significant days – – particularly in the personal (and somewhat checkered) career of our hero, the personable Daniel B. Guion. For it has come to pass (Bible talk, meaning “it has come to pass”) that our hero saw his lady love even at the expense of cheating his uncle! Dan (that was his moniker) was stationed in Maastricht in those days and there were passes available for all and sundry. But alas the passes were for a duration of only 48 hours – – and what was the worst, Calais was specifically mentioned as being beyond the borne of such a pass. Nothing daunted, young Guion took his courage in his hands and placed his conscience behind him, and with this entourage, set off one evening, ostensibly for Brussels. But, patient reader, the fair city of Brussels was but a subterfuge. ‘Tis true that Guion spent the night at a hostelry in that city, but it was merely the result of the young man’s realism (and the setting sun) that he halted at all that night. Bright and early the next morning Dan set off for distant Calais, traveling by that medium so familiar to Americans – – the thumb. It soon became apparent to the eager lad that not all streets (they call them “rues” in Belgium, but they act very much like those phenomena we have labeled “streets” in America) – – to continue, it became apparent that not all rues in Brussels led directly to Calais. As a matter of fact, after about an hour of experimentation, map reading, tram car riding and muttering through his teeth, Dan definitely established to his satisfaction (well, hardly satisfaction, but in the interests of literature, wot the hell?) that at least three Brussels rues did NOT lead in the direction of Calais. But the fates are not always adamant and eventually one of the natives of those parts pointed out the right rue which had been there all the time, unbeknownst to our hero. It developed that the day was Sunday and not every military truck in the ETO was planning to go to Calais – – in fact most trucks that took the trouble to bother at all were generally moving in the opposite direction. By dint of persistence, and courtesy of the British Army, Guion arrived at last at Calais. It was mid-afternoon. Perhaps his heart beat a little faster veinous eagerness as he turned in at the familiar double doors in front of the Senechal home. Perhaps he wondered if they would be home on such a brilliant Sunday afternoon. Knock, knock, knock. What was hidden behind that closed door! The door opened. It was Madam Senechal. A sudden look of joy turned to profound consternation – – “Oh, Dani, Paulette n’est pa la!  Ella est partie a Donai, etc. etc. All of which was translated by our hero into his flawless English by his agile brain, and I pass it on to you, word for word: “Oh, Dan! Paulette is not here! She has gone to Douai to visit Renee and Andree. And it is my fault. She has been listless since you went away, so the other day, when she received an invitation to visit her sister, I told her to go ahead – – that it would be a pleasant change for her. So it’s really my fault.” Our hero hastened to reassure her that it was perfectly all right – – he would go on to Douai that same day. Thus he would not only visit the whole family but also he would be nearer to Maastricht for his return trip on the morrow. And so it was. He arrived in Douai about 10 in the evening and was welcomed warmly, as you, dear reader, must already have suspected. Monday, Dan left Douai for Lille on the train in company with Chiche, and at Lille they parted – – she for Calais and he for Maastricht. They had decided to wait until August for the wedding at the request of Mme. S. because her two boys were due back from Algeria early in July and the added excitement and fuss of a wedding would be too much for her. But the workings of destiny recognize no plan and a few days later our hero learned that the Army was planning to move soon and haste was imperative if Dan was to be hitched properly, so, as things stand now, the situation is disintegrating every bit as fast as it is being resolved. Young Guion is back in Drancy, expecting to be sent either to the U.S.A. or China within a couple of months unless the critical score of 85 is lowered to 76, in which case he will probably remain several months in Europe doing Heaven only knows what while waiting to be discharged. He is automatically barred from participation in the educational opportunities because at present he is in Category II which means C (China)  B (Burma)  I (India). Will Guion be sent directly to China, or via the states? Will the critical points be lowered to 76? Will he get the girl? For further adventures of Dan keep your nose tuned to Box 7, Trumbull, Conn.

For your information, my map of France shows Maastricht on the Belgium-German border about 50 miles east of Brussels. Calais is 100 miles west of Brussels. Douai is 50 miles south east of Calais and 20 miles south of Lille (60 miles S.E. of Brussels). Drancy is 3 or 4 miles N.E. of Paris up in the direction of La Bourget airfield.

Daniel Beck Guion - (Dan)

Dan in uniform @ 1945

Just before receiving the above letter, the mail also delivered two very good pictures of Dan, one smiling and the other serious. I showed them to Butch yesterday and he said, “What is he mad about?”

Marian says a letter just received from Lad says he has received an invitation from Paulette to their wedding August 4th but that the Army will not let him go. As Lad’s letter was written later than Dan’s, that may be the last news until we hear further from Dan.

Marian has had two girl friends visiting her from the Bronx this weekend. I had a marriage to perform today in Bridgeport. You will recall I wrote not so long ago telling you about marrying a man who was dumb. Well today both the groom and the best man were totally blind. The girl was O.K. A “seeing-eye” dog was present at the ceremony. Red (Sirene) dropped in for a visit one day this week. He will be sent to Belvoir for about a month when his furlough is up early next month. A letter from your Aunt Helen (Peabody Human) says they are still on Minetta Street. “The other night we were over at Anne’s (Peabody Stanley) and saw a copy of Dave’s letter. I was completely fascinated during the entire reading of it. It is really a remarkable letter – – so perfectly natural, interesting and informative. It reads as though he were used to turning out articles by the dozen. Do you remember Jim Shields? He visited in Trumbull I remember. He stopped in one day last week to see Ted (Human). He asked about the boys and sent his regards. Donald (Stanley) is back. Right now he is in Boston working on exams and then he and Gweneth are going to Vermont for a few days before going back to sea. He has been in the Pacific and was at or near Okinawa.”

And that’s about all on the list for this week except that Jean has run into a bit of passport red-tape trouble and may go to Miami by plane. More about that next week. Meantime, don’t forget your


Tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, a long letter from Grandpa to his “Boys” filled with news from his sons and happenings in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ralfred (2) – Impressions Of The USA – August 7, 1939

This is the rest of the letter to Lad written by Dan after he had been home for about a week.

My impressions of USA after having been away a rather surprising.  Vegetation seems much greener here!  The poorest house seems quite nice; the Merritt Parkway looks like the dream of some future Gomez.  Everything is so wealthy-seeming that I am amazed at not having been more shocked at the poverty of Vez.  When I first arrived last fall.  It seems such a short time ago that I left the States for Vez.,  Yet it seems ages ago since I did you and Bush farewell in Carora last spring!  I have seen more of Venezuela and crammed more experience in the last few months since I saw you last, that my whole attitude toward Vez.  Has changed.  In Caracas I learned to be spend-thrift por necesidad.  In Maracaibo I found one of the most interesting cities I have known, with painted Indians and burros rubbing shoulders with Americans and New trucks.  Driving from Cabimas to Barquisimeto via Coro along the shore gave me an insight on the highway system (or lack of system) of Vez.  The brief dash out to the beginning of los llanos and the amazing rock crags near San Juan de los Morros opened a new vista of South American beauty.  My three weeks at Bobare were spent in high, semi-arid, cactus-strewn country comparable to New Mexico.  I should never have believed it possible to see so much variety in such a short time.

Dan in Venezuela – 1939 (I wonder if this is the picture he sent to Lad)

I have many very fine photographs, and I shall send them from time to time when the weight of the letter permits.  Enclosed in this letter is a snapshot which, for obvious reasons, has been censored, and is safer with you in Pariaguan that it would be here at home.  I shall try to make it a point to write you each week, supplementing Dad’s news with my own impressions of Trumbull or Alaska as the case may be.  I have decided to go to the U. of Alaska if they will have me.

Ced is still working with Tilo.  We have heard nothing from Rusty for quite a while.  Dick is living the life of a country gentleman.  Dave is running a close second.  I am running a poor third and playing plenty of tennis (Barbara Plumb has a tennis court in her back yard).  Dad is running the Town of Trumbull, his office in Bridgeport, and the kitchen here at home.  His latest hobby is cooking, and, knowing his propensity for experimenting with foods, you can readily imagine what an opportunity he has. Biss is still happily married, and Zeke is on good terms with the entire family, for which I am very grateful.  I suppose you have heard that you are on the verge of becoming an uncle.  I don’t know when, but I suspect it will be before the year is over.  The house seems quite empty without any females.  There are only five Grandpa, Dan, Ced, Dick and Dave) of us.  It is the smallest family that I have ever seen in this house.

I don’t get around much yet, due to my lack of fore-sight in getting my license renewed and Bissie’s lack of fore-sight in getting Willy-o (the Wyllis) compromised.  I want to see the Fair (the World’s Fair in New York), Rudolph, Storrs (CT, site of the University of Connecticut) , Carl Nelson’s wife, McCarter (one of the Managers at the New York office of Interamerica, also the man who will cash Dan’s check from Maxudian, that he received before he left Venezuela), and a bit of New York’s night life.  I have not found a job, although I have professed a willingness to work for Mr. Skinner when he has worked for me.

I am rapidly shaking off my South American ennui, and have surprised myself on several occasions by a spurt of energy.  Perhaps my frequent change of diet has held back a more-rapid recovery.  During the last two months I have completely changed my diet 8 times! La Concepcion, Mena Grande, Maracaibo, Truck trip to Barquisimeto, Bobare, Caracas, Santa Paula (the Grace Line ship that brought him to New York), and now home.

Don’t hesitate to write all the Spanish possible.  I need plenty of practice, and it won’t hurt you, either.  Don Whitney speaks College Spanish, but helps a little.  I am trying to teach Dicky to help me.

Adios, pues


Tomorrow and Sunday, I will post a two-page letter from Dave recently arrived in Manila. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ralfred – I Have Forgotten The Unpleasantness – August 7, 1939

Dan had been home in Trumbull for about a week and he writes to Lad of his thoughts and activities since his homecoming.

                    Lad in Venezuela

Trumbull, otro vez

Aug. 7

Dear Ralfred,

Although I have been home for no more than one week, I look back on Venezuela with mellow kindness!  Already I have forgotten the unpleasantness of hot weather, plaga, and filth.  I have just finished reading the scrap-book, and regret more than ever that I was unable to get to Pariaguan.

Lad with Martin and Flor Williams in Trumbull after Lad’s return in 1942

I noticed a statement made about some friend of Barbara who works with SV. (Socony-Vacuum Oil Co.)  He is the same fellow whom I asked you to look up — Martin Williams.  He was one of the first men at Pariaguan, and knew the Camp when it was nothing more than a few dilapidated huts.  Last summer he broke his leg, and came to Caracas, where he has been since.  He is a geologist, rather young (in his twenties) and has been working in your Caracas offices since his accident.  I looked him up while I was in Caracas last month, and learned that he was coming to the states for his vacation during the end of July and first of August.  I shall try to see him again before he leaves, and perhaps I can send your dental floss (which has stayed with me since I first arrived in Caracas) and any other odds and ends which occurred to me.  He tells me that he often sends things out to Pariaguan at the request of the men, and as long as he stays in Caracas, I am sure he would be glad to send you anything you might need.

On my foray to the Llanos I reached a point called Palenque, and, in all probability, could have reached Valle de la Pascua, but from there on would have been quite a gamble.  The Caracas office, although it was completely civil, did not give me much assistance.  I don’t believe that they know much about conditions outside of Caracas.

I am again in a position to give you advice on sailing procedure when you start home.  The Grace Line schedule at present runs from NY to Curaçao to La Guaira to Puerto Cabello to Barranquilla  to Panama, then back to La Guaira to Panama to NY. From La Guaira to NY direct costs $160. From La Guaria to Panama to NY costs a lot more, but from Puerto Cabello to Panama to NY costs only $10 more than from La Guaira to NY ($170).  In other words, from Puerto Cabrillo to Panama and back to La Guaira costs only ten dollars if you continue on to NY.  By the time you are ready to come home, however, they might be back on their old schedule.  Don’t by clothes in Panama.  You can get better quality and cheaper right in Bridgeport, believe it or not.  The things to buy in Panama are alligator goods, perfumes, liquors, ivory, silks.  The proper price is about half what they ask if they think you are a tourist.  If you can convince them that you are working in Panama, the store-keepers will cut prices amazingly.  Ivory is often nothing better than celluloid.  If the store-keeper allows you to hold a match to the ivory, the chances are that it is bone, rather than celluloid!  I don’t know how to tell pure ivory.  I have been told that it is cold to the touch, but I really don’t know.  For gifts, buy alligator leather belts, cigarette cases, watch fobs, hand-bags, wallets etc., imported soaps and perfumes from France or England, silks from Japan.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter with his impressions of USA and local news. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Soloist (2) – The Report Continues – August 6, 1939

Grandpa, Dick Ced, Biss (Elizabeth), Dave, Zeke (Raymond Zabel, Biss’s husband, holding Grandpa’s first grandchild, Raymond Zabel, Jr. and Dan.

CHAP 111 (Grandpa duplicated CHAP 111) – INTERAMERICA: Max (Yervant Maxudian, owner and President of Interamerica, Inc) failed to keep his promise about paying the two month’s salary before Dan sailed, claiming that the “the friend” who had promised to loan Max the money to pay Dan, was out of town, but he did give him a draft which was  to be presented at the New York office, for this two month’s pay, which however Dan was not to present to Mr. McCarter until he had been notified that the funds were there to meet it.  He did get $160 in cash for his fare home.  I am of course very skeptical about the outcome, but Dan, while holding no brief for Max, does feel that Max is intending to pay them back salaries and that his side of the story, divorced from Ted’s bitter prejudice, makes Max not as bad as he has been painted.  From what Dan says, the rumpus started by complaints from “the Senator from Conn” is the thing that is worrying  Maxy most right now, and I intend to keep him worrying along that line until the whole business is cleared up.  Max feels very friendly towards Dan and the way I think we ought to play it is that Dan, working in Maxis interest, is doing his best to get me to call off the dogs but I am one of these pig-headed father’s and refused to be satisfied, and Dan can do nothing with me on that basis.  We will have to wait and see how it works out.

CHAP IV – FUTURE PLANS: While I have a number of college catalogs for Dan to look over, I think his mind is pretty well made up to go to Alaska University in the fall.  Meantime he has already made application for a summer job with Fuller & Co. so that he can earn something during the next month or so and will not have to draw on what funds he has left from his first check.  He is spending a great deal of his time, quite naturally, at Plumbs (The home of his girlfriend, Barbara Plumb).

Oh, I must tell you.  Anticipating that Dan would want some room to unpack and show his souvenirs, I told him to take the spare room next to the bathroom.  Snake skins and other things were spread all over as he unpacked, with all the bunch that had been down to meet him sitting around on floor and bed, etc., when in strolled Mack (the family pet dog). a big snakeskin was near the door and Mack unconcernedly walked up to it and sniffed it.  Just one sniff and you would have thought he was shot.  He jumped back so hard and so fast that he bumped his head on the table, and was quite jumpy for a few minutes until he discovered they would not do him harm.

Dan was not seasick on the way home although for a couple of days the sea was rough enough to make him feel somewhat squeamish.  There was not a very interesting bunch of people on board, mostly old folks.  It seems Santa Paula developed some engine trouble at the beginning of the trip which they figured would make her late on her landing schedule, but they later decided to omit the stop entirely at Cape Hatien, so that she really reached New York Monday night and lay out in the harbor until Tuesday morning, which accounts for the fact that he docked earlier than usual.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter, containing news of family and personal comments to Lad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Soloist – (1) Starting At The Beginning – August 6, 1939

Daniel Beck Guion Fall of 1939)


August 6, 1939

Dear Soloist:

You are now representing the Guion family of Trumbull in the continent of South America all by yourself.  Dan returned home Tuesday as per schedule.  He looks just the same.  He is not anywhere as tanned as I expected him to be; In fact he had more of a tan when he was working on the Merritt Parkway then he has now.  But I’d better start at the beginning and tell you all about it.

CHAP. ! – PREPARATIONS FOR THE HOMECOMING: As Ced’s factory was not working Tuesday I arranged through the Bpt.(Bridgeport) City Trust Co. Travel Bureau to get passes for Ced, Dick and Dave.  As Helen Plumb and Barbara (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend) also obtained passes to meet the boat, I invited the two Plumbs to go down in my car.  Dick drove.  Ced gathered a party consisting of Donald Whitney, Dick Christie, Red (Don Sirene), and Jean (Hughes) whom he drove down in the Packard.  We were unable to ascertain just when on Tuesday morning the boat would dock, but being informed that it was usually about 9 A.M. and knowing that Ted’s boat arrived between 9 and 10, we left Trumbull about 7:30.  I had written Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie about Dan’s arrival, and I thought possibly Ted and Helen(Ted and Helen (Peabody) Human. Ted had hired both Dan and Lad to work with him for Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela) might also be on hand.

CHAP !11 – THE ARRIVAL: We reached Pier 57 a little after nine and pulling up to the entrance, I noticed trunks being wheeled out into taxis and a few inquiries revealed that the boat had docked about 8 A.M. and practically everyone had passed through the customs and had gone.  While we were deciding whether or not to go up and look for Dan, he appeared in person.  Luckily, he told us, Aunt Betty and Aunt Elsie had arrived in time, but naturally he was disappointed that the rest of us had not been there to see him come in.  He got through the customs without any question although he did have some seeds, etc., which were not supposed to be admitted.  We packed Dan’s baggage into the two cars and started for Trumbull via the Merritt Parkway, arriving home about noon.

CHAP 111 – TROPHIES: Skins of five or six different varieties of snakes, one a rattler which Dan almost stepped on, a sloth pelt, small tiger and other quadrupeds, a collection of butterflies and moths, different kinds of wood, a collection of homemade canes, odd stones, a tom-tom drum and other noisemakers, a crude home-made firle apparently made from a section of gas pipe and odd pieces of tin and springs, a muzzleloader fired with percussion caps, sundry coins and about ten dollars worth of undeveloped films.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I will post the rest of this letter.  On Thursday and Friday I will be posting a letter from Dan to Lad, written after he had been home for about a week. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Individual Letters to Each Son (2) – Dear Dan and Ced – July 15, 1945

DBG - Paulette on Bike @ 1945 in France

Paulette Van Laere 

Page 2    7/15/45

Dear Dan:

Well you fading bachelor, what’s the latest news about your double harness prospects? We are all on pins and needles over here waiting for something definite. Meantime, why don’t you feed our hungry souls with some back information about Paulette, whom we are all hungry to know better though it be by proxy. What do you suppose I took the time and effort to ask a lot of questions for in a letter now long forgotten, about Paulette and her likes and dislikes, if we didn’t want to know? One of the things we are all living for over here is the prospect of having you and Paulette with us. I even tried to get a book from the library so that I could learn to speak French and Marian gave me a French English dictionary, but I’m afraid I can’t report much progress. I also sent you a list of things I thought she might like to have, to which you paid no attention. I would like to send her something direct from time to time just to prolong as long as possible until she faces the reality, the idea that we are awfully nice people. So to one of your welcome but cryptic messages soon, add a real long letter about Paulette, etc. I found your tripod and head in your trunk and will send it along with the three-dimensional device which I ordered from Seniors. I also found in the trunk a yellow “Austin lens hood to fit series 6 filter holder”, as well as what appears to be a flash outfit with mirror. I did not include this, or rather will not, because I take it if you wanted them you would have asked for them. Hope you can get films for your camera as they are unobtainable here without a special order from the President.

This is followed by Dave’s letter comparing his trip to the one Dan reported in a previous letter. which was quoted completely  in Dave’s World War II Adventure a short time ago.

Dear Ced:

Just a note of warning. Don’t wait as long as you did last time between letters. I’m beginning now just so as to sort of keep you reminded that we enjoy hearing from our civilian brother, too. Anyway, your last letter was written June 14th, so over a month has gone by already. A while back you hinted you were “sot” (My guess would be “sort of thinking”, but I really don’t know) on making Alaska your lifelong home (by the way, I have not seen that Walt Disney picture yet). The subject intrigues me as far as you are concerned and I would like to have you develop the theme a bit. What have you in mind as to the future you would like to pursue other than coming away from Anchorage to some other part of the world via Trumbull? Is the airplane business your chosen field? Are you in this event sticking to the mechanical end or does your vision look aloft to the piloting end? Someday we might call a family Yalta meeting of our own and try to get affairs settled and as you will be the delegate from Alaska, you ought to have all your plans mapped out so that all of you can attend the conference fully prepared to settle the future of the House of Guion. You know, as I wrote last week, if I am going to chase you boys all over the world to see “how the other half lives”, I simply have got to have some idea of what you-all intend doing. All of you seem to be doing pretty well up to now in traipsing around the globe.

The latest comes from Lad whose letter to Marian I am quoting, here and now, to her courtesy. “One day toward the end of June I went into Marseilles with a couple of fellows and by previous arrangement we had reservations through the A.R.C. (American Red Cross) on “La Vanaquez”, a chartered fishing boat, for a trip to the Château d’If. (’If) If you remember much about history, you will recall that it was a medieval prison on a rock outside the port city. (It was also the scene of the Count of Monte Christo) It still stands but is much battered, since it has been used numerous times to defend the port. However, no serious damage has been done. I had my camera along and did get quite a few pictures of the Château and also of Marseille. I’m having them developed and printed now and if they are any good I’ll send them to you. We came back to Marseille about noon and went up to the transient mess for lunch. Afterwards, I went to the Times Square Club to try to buy some films (no luck), then to the U.S. Army theater Capitole where we saw “Keep Your Powder Dry” ( and it was pretty good. After that we went to a park which is built around a very elaborate memorial erected in honor of the completion of the canal which supplies the city water and terminates at this park. It is quite beautiful and we spent nearly an hour there. Then back to mess and camp. In all, a very pleasant day.”

Tomorrow, letters to Dick and Dave from Grandpa. 

Judy Guion

Army Life – Mon Jeune – Lad Sorry To Miss Wedding – July 9, 1945

Southern France

9 July 1945

Mon Jeune: – (My Young, Lad is only 1 1/2 years older)

I have just written to Paulette explaining that circumstances beyond my control prohibit my attendance at your wedding.  I believe you understand what is behind it, old 78-pointer.  But I’m honestly sorry.  I was really planning to make the wedding if nothing else.  I know how it is to get married among “almost strangers”.  And I had the advantage of being able to speak their language freely and fluently, too.

And you know I wish you both the best of luck, health and happiness, etc.  I really wish I could have met “Chiche” and her family and friends.  It’s a shame things and the Army and circumstances can’t get together once in a while.  Particularly Army and Circumstances.  Other than the first few days, we have done nothing since we came to southern France, but could I get a two or three day pass? You can answer that easily.  I get very much put-out, to say the least, by the inefficiency of the Army and the waste of manpower and valuable time.  Well, in any case, I won’t be at your wedding, regardless of when it could be held or where.

I’ve taken a few pictures myself and sent one of the better ones to Paulette so that I can be there in proxy, anyway.  From the way you worded your letter and invitation, you apparently have no intention of leaving E.T.O. (Eoropean Theater of Operations) at the moment anyway.  Just what is your set-up and future possibilities?  I don’t expect even to get any delay whatsoever.

I wrote to Paulette in English, so if she doesn’t fully comprehend what I feel or said, will you please tell her how you know I must feel.  And I don’t think you can over estimate my enthusiasm.

Again, Dan, thanks for the invitation and the best of everything.  Let me know (or Marian) what you want for a gift.



For the rest of the week, I will be posting individual letters Grandpa has written to each son as a change to his usual format.

Judy Guion